You may have heard about layaway, but what exactly is it? Layaway is kind of like a credit card, but without all that debt hanging over your head. In-store and online layaway programs can be less than transparent about their practices. We’ll show you the top in-store and online layaway programs and walk you through the fine print.

 

First thing’s first, what is layaway?

Layaway allows a person to make a purchase by spreading the cost out over a number of payments. If you use layaway in a physical store, the item is reserved in the store until the full amount is paid. A downpayment — and sometimes a service fee — is required. Cancellation fees are also typical.

If you use an online “layaway” system, you can have your product right away, but continue to make payments on it for an agreed-upon number of installments that are automatically deducted from your credit or debit card, or in some cases, your paycheck. Some providers charge a service fee, and others are free. Late fees are usually assessed if your card is declined.

Why would I want to try layaway?

Layaway is a great option for shoppers who don’t want to spend a big chunk of their budget in one trip, or who can’t pay for an item outright. It’s also perfect for those who don’t want to run up credit cards for big purchases or don’t even want a credit card.

Will layaway affect my credit?

No credit or income checks are needed to start a layaway account in a physical store, and no interest is charged on the items you’re making payments on. For online layaway, you will need to be pre-approved but don’t have to fill out any forms.

 

The Top In-store Layaway Programs

 

1. Walmart Holiday Layaway lets you use coupons for your item!

Offer dates: Begins Aug. 9 and final payment and pickup must be done by Dec. 9.

Down Payment: $20 or 20% (whichever is greater).

Cancellation Fee: $20 or 20% of the original down payment (whichever is greater).

Online Layaway available: No.

Restrictions:

  • Individual items must be $10 or greater, and your total purchase must be at least $50.
  • Excludes all wireless phones.
  • Layaway not available Thursday, Nov. 28.
  • Layaway only available for Electronics, Auto Electronics, Large Furniture, Toys, Infant Toys and Furniture, Select Sporting Goods, Small Appliances and Jewelry.

Easiest way to save: You can use coupons on layaway items!

TIP: Depending on your total purchase, paying a $10 fee to start a layaway plan on a $50 item ends up costing you an extra 20%! But paying $10 to start layaway on a $400 game system is only 2.5%. Unless you’re worried about a popular item selling out, wait until you have the cash to buy smaller items outright.

 

Looking for the hot toy this holiday? Read this to learn how you can use layaway to get it!

2. Kmart Layaway has the easiest sign-up process.

Offer dates: All year.

Down Payment: $10 and 8- or 12-week plan (each includes a non-refundable service fee of $10).

Cancellation Fee: $10 for the 8-week plan and $20 for the 12-week plan.

Online Layaway Available: Yes.

Restrictions: You can only use layaway on items that say “Layaway Eligible” on the tag, or if you’re shopping online, look on the product page just above delivery and pickup options.

TIP: Text LAYAWAY to 56278 to set up an account and get updates and reminders sent directly to your phone.

You can also follow the Krazy Coupon Lady Kmart deals page to know you’re shopping for the best deals!

 

 

3. Sears Layaway works only for certain items.

Offer dates: All year.

Down Payment: $10 and 8- or 12-week plan (each includes a non-refundable service fee of $10).

Cancellation Fee: $10 for the 8-week plan and $20 for the 12-week plan.

Available online? Yes.

Restrictions: You can only use layaway on items that say “Layaway Eligible” on the tag, or if you’re shopping online, look on the product page just above delivery and pickup options.

Easiest way to save: Use store coupons on layaway items!

TIP: Some stores will allow the use of coupons when you’re putting something on layaway. Be sure to give your coupons to the store associate when you activate your layaway plan so that they will be reflected in the amount due.

 

4. Burlington Coat Factory Layaway gives you bonus cash for signing up!

Offer dates: All year. Get $5 bonus cash for signing up!

Down Payment: 20% on the first day and an additional 20% 14 days after purchase.

Cancellation Fee: $10. Any refunds of layaway deposits will be given in the form of a gift card

Online Layaway Available: No.

Restrictions: No food products.

TIP: For stores that don’t accept coupons, consider purchasing a discounted gift card from Raise.com. Right now you can buy a Burlington gift card worth $100 for only $93.

 

5. Marshalls Layaway & T.J.Maxx Layaway have strict due dates!

Offer dates: All year.

Down Payment: 10% plus $5 non-refundable service fee (balance must be paid within 30 days).

Cancellation Fee: $5.

Available online? No.

Restrictions: Layaway not available for jewelry or clearance.

Easiest way to save: Shop on Wednesday morning for first dibs on the newest inventory.

TIP: You’re required to make your final payment by a certain due date. If you miss that date, you risk losing your layaway items and having to pay a cancellation fee!

RELATED: 24 Freaking Amazing Ways to Save at T.J.Maxx

 

6. GameStop Layaway has no hidden fees!

Offer dates: Sep. 9, 2019 – Dec. 4, 2019.

Down Payment: $25.

Cancellation Fee: $0

Available online? No.

Restrictions: None, but final payments are due by Dec. 11, 2019.

Easiest way to save: Trade in video games and have the proceeds go toward your down payment!

RELATED: Check out all of the latest gaming system deals! We’ll let you know where the best prices are!

 

7. Big Lots Layaway is called “price hold.”

Big Lots doesn’t have traditional layaway, but what they do have is “Price Hold,” which has similarities and is worth mentioning.

Price Hold is only available for furniture at Big Lots. In order for an item to be eligible for Price Hold, the item must be out of stock in your local store. If your store manager chooses, they can place a Price Hold on the item while you wait for the item to come in (this can sometimes take weeks). You may keep making payments until the item arrives, but you must pay the balance in full and pick up your item.

Offer Dates: All Year.

Down Payment: $49.

Cancellation Fee: $5.

Online Layaway Available: No.

Restrictions: Price Hold is only done in stores with Furniture and Home departments.

 

 

Online Layaway if you want your item upfront.


Most online retailers don’t offer traditional layaway programs, unless you go through a brick-and-mortar store that offers traditional, in-store layaway and online layaway, like Sears.

Online layaway, or installment payment plans, as they are better known, come with higher risks than traditional layaway. But, the good news is you get your item upfront and pay later, kind of like a credit card but without the headaches of a credit card.

However, for most there is a credit check involved, as well as interest charged for some. If you decide you no longer want the items? Too bad. You’re locked in once you sign up. You might be able to return the items depending on the specific retailers’ return policy, but you won’t get refunds in any interest or fees you pay in the beginning.

These are really more like installment loans, and while you’ll get the merchandise right away, you might be paying quite a bit more in the long run. Read the fine print!

Here are a few programs offering installment loans for online shopping:

 

1. Urban Outfitters Afterpay is free and simple to use.


Offer Dates:
All year.

Where can it be used: Only at Urbanoutfitters.com.

Credit Check: Yes.

Interest Rate: 0%

How do I use it?:

  • Fill your online cart with $35-1,000 worth of merchandise.
  • Choose Afterpay as the payment method.
  • You agree to pay for your merchandise in four equal installments.
  • Installments are automatically deducted from your debit or credit card every two weeks.
  • Late fees apply if you can’t make your payment.

Bottom Line: Afterpay is a great option that’s similar to traditional layaway in that you make a small number of payments and you aren’t charged interest. If you are unable to make a payment, you are fined, so make sure not to miss any!

 

2. Affirm has the highest interest of all the online payment installment plans.


Offer Dates:
All year.

Where can it be used: 100s of online retailers, all listed on the Affirm site.

Credit Check: Yes.

Interest Rate: 30%

How do I use it?:

  • Choose one of Affirm’s partnered retailers from their list, like Yeti.
  • Choose “Affirm” at checkout.
  • Choose the payment schedule you like best (6, 12 or 18-month plans are typically available).
  • Your item will be shipped right away.
  • Make your monthly payments until your item is paid off.

Bottom Line: 30% is a huge interest rate! We don’t recommend something like Affirm unless you have no other options. Choose the shortest payment term possible so that you pay the least amount in interest.

 

3. Perpay can be used interest-free at Kitchenaid.com and other online stores.


Offer Dates:
All year.

Where can it be used: Any of the retailers listed in the Perpay Marketplace, such as KitchenAid and Michael Kors. (Create a free account to see the full list.)

Credit Check: No.

Interest Rate: 0%

How do I use it?:

  • Complete a Perpay profile and receive a spending limit between $500 and $2,500.
  • Browse the Perpay Marketplace (you’ll need to sign up to access the full list).
  • Add items to your cart.
  • Submit an application for review.
  • Once approved you’ll get a spending limit and instructions on how to set up your payments.
  • Your items ship once your first payment is made (automatically deducted from your paycheck).

Bottom Line: There is little risk with Perpay, but you have to jump through a lot of hoops. This includes having part of your paycheck directly deposited to Perpay for eight installments!

 

No need to scroll back up! Here’s all your links:

The Hottest Toys of 2019

Krazy Coupon Lady Kmart deals page

Raise.com

24 Freaking Amazing Ways to Save at T.J. Maxx

Nintendo Deals Page on KCL

 

UP NEXT: Thinking about Black Friday shopping? Check out our Black Friday Cheat Sheet!